- For a business to be successful, it needs to do one of two things: it must either solve a problem or serve a need.
- You can be a social media manager, virtual assistant, resume writer, interview coach, bake, walk dogs, take online surveys, sell art, build websites or item flipping and upcycling.
- Your domain should match your business name, and it should be as clear as possible.
If this is the first time you’re hearing of a side hustle, let me elaborate – generally speaking, a side hustle is something you do “on the side” that brings in extra money, in addition to your mainstream of income. The income your side hustle brings in is often directly related to the effort you put in. It can involve spending 1 to 2 hours a week completing surveys or using rebate programs, or it can be a full-fledged business that you grow in the evenings and weekends, spending 10 to 15 hours a week. Side hustles can bring in anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand a month!
A successful side hustle can provide more discretionary income, security, increase skills, and a newfound sense of purpose. Starting a successful side hustle is much more attainable than many assume. With the right strategy, you can make money with your ideas.
For a business to be successful, it needs to do one of two things: it must either solve a problem or serve a need. You don’t need your MBA to create a course on writing resumes or be a published photographer to sell your photos as stock images. Once you have identified a problem, you simply need to provide a solution to your customers.
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Steps to Starting a Successful Side Hustle
Step 1: Decide on your side hustle
The first step to starting a successful side hustle is to determine what you will do. Here are a few examples to inspire you:
- Graphic Designer
Consumer need/problem: need a professionally designed logo but doesn’t have a large budget (problem).
Your solution: design a simple yet aesthetically pleasing logo quickly and affordably.
If you have the skills and resources for graphic design, you can start selling your design services online through freelance platforms such as Freelance Global Gigs. This will allow you to take on as many clients as your time permits. There are additional scalable opportunities like selling templates, flyers, and brochures.
- Interior Designer
Consumer need/problem: need a beautifully designed work from home office space but don’t know how to execute their vision (problem).
Your solution: you can provide consultation, create a mood board, provide direction, or take over the entire process from beginning to end to get your client the space they’ve always dreamed of.
- If you have a flair for interior design, you can start making money off of your skills and ideas. You don’t need a formal education or training to start selling your interior design services. Pick a niche such as home office, baby nursery, kitchens, bathrooms, or landscaping design and create a website to display your services and experience.
Consumer need/problem: need to lose weight but are intimidated by the gym and feel overwhelmed (problem).
Your solution: you can provide a clear written workout plan and keep them accountable by working out with them 3 times a week online.
Many people struggle to lose weight, get in shape, and go to the gym. Through the support of a personal trainer, these individuals will have a much greater chance of reaching their fitness goals. If you have a passion for fitness, you can start a side hustle as an online personal trainer. Qualifications are relatively easy to get and can be pursued on evenings and weekends.
- Private Caterer or Chef
Consumer need/problem: a mom who needs to feed her family delicious and nutritious homecooked meals but is so busy with work and picking up the kids she has limited time to cook and shop (problem).
Your solution: Cook healthy meals every night of the week and deliver them to your customer’s home, so all they need to do is heat them up (solution).
Cooking skills are highly sought after and often hard to come by. Even if someone is a good cook, it can be challenging to do the grocery shopping, research new recipes, and prepare meals every night of the week. Your business would help busy families, professionals, and those who don’t want to cook.
These are just four of the countless options. You can be a social media manager, virtual assistant, resume writer, interview coach, bake, walk dogs, take online surveys, sell art, build websites or item flipping and upcycling. Pick a side hustle that matches your skillset and resources while solving a problem and need.
Step 2: Create a business plan
There are a lot of factors to consider when starting a side hustle. Ask yourself the following questions before you start working on your business plan:
How much time can I devote to my side hustle each week?
How much money am I able to invest (e.g., website design, marketing expenses, etc.)?
What services will I offer? How will my prices be structured?
How will potential customers find out about my business?
There are lots of free business plan templates available online or at your local commerce organization. Although you likely won’t use this to acquire funding, it will provide you with direction and a plan you can follow consistently to build your side hustle.
Step 3: Buy a domain and set up your website
We live in a virtual world, and potential clients will look up your website to get more information. An online presence, specifically a website, makes your business look professional and trustworthy.
Your domain should match your business name, and it should be as clear as possible. Ideally, it should also include what your business is, for example, “RusticInteriorDesign.com” or “CityPersonalTraining.com.” If your budget is tight, you can use free versions of design programs like PicMoney or Canva to design a logo. A simple website doesn’t need to be expensive. There are plenty of tutorials and free resources online that will guide you through the process of setting it up, or you can hire the services of a freelancer.
Step 4: Marketing your business
The only way you will get clients and customers is to put your business in front of them. There are plenty of free and paid advertising strategies you can utilize. The marketing methods you choose to pursue will depend on the demographic you are trying to reach and your budget.
Social media is a great avenue for you to pursue, and you can set up accounts for free. If there is a particular age group you are looking to target, one social media platform may be better than the other. You can also create accounts on multiple platforms. That said, you must remember to post on all accounts. An abandoned-looking page is bad for business. When creating your social media pages like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, make sure your handle matches your domain. This will make it much easier for people to find and follow you. Provide value in all your posts. Educational and entertaining posts will grow your following.
In addition to social media, you should reach out to friends and family and tell them about your new side hustle. Referrals are a great way to start getting your first sales or signing your first clients. As you get more customers or clients, try to secure testimonials, pictures, or reviews that you can use in your portfolio to help draw in future customers.
Step 5: Always deliver quality
When life gets busy and chaotic, you may be tempted to ignore your side hustle or put it on pause. Let’s say you are a freelance graphic designer and you receive an order on the weekend to design a logo in two days, but you have plans with friends. If you ignore this order or fail to promptly deliver quality work, this can be detrimental to your business. Always deliver quality work, and your side hustle will be successful. Provide your customers or clients with exceptional customer service.
The Secrets to a Successful Side Hustle
As I just eluded to, it may be tempting to ignore your side hustle when other things come up. Seeing that it’s not your mainstream income, you may not feel the same sense of dedication.
Initially, it can seem like you are choosing to work twice as much. However, when you get to work on something you are excited about – this is balance! Your mindset makes a world of difference. Just because it makes money doesn’t mean it’s “work.”
When starting a side hustle, it can be easy to become consumed by it. You may go to bed later, stop working out and start eating all your meals at your desk. This can be detrimental to your health and your business. Optimal physical and mental health will help you be more creative, focused, and better at problem-solving. Schedule breaks, time to unplug, hit the gym, and enjoy a nutritious meal.
Above all, remember your Side Hustle Manifesto. Save this page or print out the following manifesto so you can refer back to it often. These habits will have you making money with your ideas in no time:
Side Hustle Manifesto
The habits below should be a part of every entrepreneur’s manifesto:
- Believe in yourself.
- Always stay positive.
- Develop a fearless mindset.
- Stay focused on your goals.
- Work hard each day.
- Think outside of the box (better yet- “throw the box away”)
- Develop an attitude of perseverance.
- Never give up.
If you want to start bringing in extra money, learn new skills, and give yourself a new sense of purpose, starting a side hustle is a gratifying endeavor. Everyone has special skills and attributes that will solve problems and satisfy the needs of others. Follow the steps listed here to start your successful side hustle today!
Excerpts from the book titled Mentally Strong Entrepreneur.